July 26, 2018
Today at 1:30pm Pacific Time, I will have produced and co-hosted my last live radio broadcast for eBay Inc.: eBay Radio #733 (from eBay Open 2018 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV) plus 511 Ask Griff & Lee shows. It’s been a privilege over the last 15 years to watch you all become pioneers of ecommerce.
In that time, many of you transitioned from being hobby sellers to embracing entrepreneurialism. You’ve done a great job. I will miss hearing your voices as you call into the shows as well as seeing you at eBay events.
Today, I’d like to recognize the folks who made eBay Radio possible each week, our Voicemarketing team: Betsie Bolger, Donna Freher-Lyons, Burt Lo, and Frank Ceasar. Voicemarketing is a family business; my husband John Sell and I will miss the eBay community, and so will my daughters Melissa Mirabal Demille, Elisa Mirabal, and Jennifer Goldman.
I thank eBay Inc. for allowing me the opportunity to end my full-time broadcast career with this wonderful project. I know I’ll lose some of you as I transition my newsletter into a socio-political blog, but I hope your lives are filled with joy and a great bottom line. I will miss you!
Once again, today’s tip is aimed at those of you attending eBay Open 2018 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, but it applies to your business in general as well. Let it be a guiding principle.
When you get home from Vegas, pick out the 3 best things you learned. Test the first one, and see how it works for you. Then test the second one, and finally the third one. Keep it simple, or you won’t know which element is having what effect on your business.
My tip for today is tailored to eBay Open 2018 attendees, but it applies to those of you at home as well. Two words: Pace yourself. Today and tomorrow and the day after that are going to be a whirlwind of education, networking, and seller celebration.
You’ll be pulling out all the stops to have the best possible time and get the most out of your Open experience here at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, but please don’t pull them all out at once. A 3-day conference is a marathon, not a sprint!
Just remember to wear comfy shoes, stay hydrated, and replenish your stash of business cards every night or in the morning before you head to the convention space. Above all, enjoy this time with your eBay tribe. See you at the Brooklyn Bowl!
With retirement looming, I’ve been taking stock of my life as a businesswoman/media person. Although early on I met some pretty rough characters who displayed bad sales ethics, later I was lucky enough to find great mentors who taught me the right way.
Having been involved in some pretty tough negotiations through the years, I learned to strive for win/wins and make sure I over-delivered on my services afterward. Which of the following would be the right reason(s) for doing so?
The mean girls in school gave me fits for years. The male hallway bullies got me, too; I was a target. Here’s my tip: Don’t be among a bully’s followers — or one of their goons.
Dictionary definition of goon: “A bully or thug, especially one hired to terrorize or do away with opposition.” I have seen some online entrepreneurs who have allowed the evil part of junior high school back into their heads after they started following one of these online gurus/bullies.
At first, it’s exciting, especially if they choose you to be one of their goons. It’s OK to follow someone’s leadership because they have important information you need to grow your business, but ask yourself, “Is this the type of person around whom I want to base my life’s ethics and morals?” Bullies systematically attract and lure their goons.
Some of these goons often take over duties for these guys that include ganging up against the bully’s alleged enemies. Be careful if you find yourself slipping down the slippery slope toward being a mean girl or a hallway bully.
Why do so many online sellers keep on working into retirement? There are a number of excellent reasons. For starters, the average Social Security check for seniors in the USA is $1,404. That’s the average; many earn less. You can’t live on that.
So if you work your entire life for others and end up with a monthly income of $1,404 in your old age, you will have to work — and/or live with others in small spaces.
Next, for many seniors, selling online is actually enjoyable compared to certain insults that may come your way out in the workforce, and it’s mostly accomplished from home, with the entrepreneur (you) in charge.
Finally, by the time you reach retirement age, you may just be fed up with Mondays being back-to-work days. Keep your cool, save as much as possible, and consider selling into your later years.
Good poker players know when to hold ’em, and they know when to fold ’em. But either way, when they make that decision — usually within a few seconds to a minute — most of the time, they take a risk. The only time they know for sure they have a winning hand is when they have “the nuts”. That’s when poker players know they have the highest hand possible and that no one can beat them.
It’s the same with small business owners, except you’re holding merchandise instead of playing cards. Using a combination of your system plus your intuition can get you through this challenge.
Holding on to inventory is tricky. When should it be sent to the discard pile? Experts disagree on when to fold ’em, so it’s up to you to make decisions based on your own needs and sensibilities. Some sellers give listings a time limit: for example, 60 days or one year. Some don’t like to carry much inventory at all. Others keep certain rare and/or unusual items listed forever, waiting for the right buyer.
Consider the case of Weazie the texidermied weasel, who was listed for more than a year. Finally Weazie sold for $200+! Her seller just knew there was that one right person. She used her intuition. Use yours for certain rare or otherwise special items, along with a regular system for more commonplace stuff, and you’ll be fine.
Question from a listener: “Dear Lee, I heard the call from the seller whose friends were putting down her eBay endeavors as a ‘hobby’ instead of a business. That’s happening to me. My friends don’t want to hear me talk about my business, and it’s such a big part of my life. Your insight, please?”
My answer? You CAN outgrow your old life. It can be difficult to relate to friends or family members who demean what you do and want you to “get a REAL job”, for instance, or who don’t lend an ear to what you have to say about your work or your growth, etc. You’re basically stuck with your family — sorry — but you can choose with whom you spend your time, and how you spend it.
Pick your moments with these friends and family members. I have friends who wouldn’t know spreadsheets from bed linens, so I don’t go there. If the friendship is worth keeping, you’ll be able to find alternative fun stuff to discuss. Meanwhile, join a local seller meetup group, or start making acquaintances of other entrepreneurs who get it.
Spreadsheets, sales velocity, and accounting aren’t the only things you learn when you become an entrepreneur. Your business growth spills over into your personal life, including your character.
For instance, you may have learned to keep your cool when you get a return (anger management) or practiced taking pictures over and over again to perfect your photography skills (patience). How about the times you talked yourself out of listing a flawed item without calling out the flaw (moral dilemma)?
As you build your entrepreneurial chops, you also hone your character. Whenever you have the chance, do the right thing.
There is a gentle negotiation going on between you and your buyer before they buy your item. You want your product in their home, fast, but shoppers often want to investigate before they click on the Buy-It-Now button. They browse and take their time.
Don’t give them the chance to walk away thinking, “I’m not sure…maybe I’ll come back later.” A good solid FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section in your listing — i.e., the Q&A re: item details, shipping or combined shipping, return policy, etc., that comes up when a shopper clicks “Ask seller a question” — could help you turn more of these browsers into buyers.
FAQs containing a comprehensive set of well thought-out answers can alleviate buyer anxieties and get them to buy sooner rather than later or not at all. You know your products and your policies. Answer buyers’ questions before they have time to take a hike.